Experience will be the core selection theme for the June tests but the All Black squad will still feature a host of emerging talent.
Head coach Steve Hansen and his fellow selectors are thinking more along the lines of evolution rather than revolution. The June series against a fired-up, experienced and gifted Irish team is not the time to be maverick and experiment with unproven talent.
Hansen wants to start his reign on the right note: win the series, play good rugby and remind the world that the All Blacks are the No 1 team.
The All Blacks have never lost to Ireland and Hansen hardly wants the stigma of defeat on his watch. Logistics are also stacked against him and the team.
This is unprecedented territory - preparation time will be just five days with a full programme of Super Rugby games to be played on June 2. The squad will be announced on June 3 and that means the first training session will be on the Monday before the test.
There have been short turnarounds in the past, but not like this. There have been occasions when the first test of the year has been the week after the Super Rugby final - but this year, almost the entire All Black squad will be in action the week before the clash at Eden Park.
A couple of camps in late May with an extended training squad will be helpful - but really, the All Black campaign of 2012 will begin for real only once the 28-man squad has been named.
And the fact 28 players will be named is relevant. Permission to increase the squad from the usual 26 was granted by the NZRU on Friday and presents Hansen with an opportunity to pick some untried talent, even if they don't necessarily win much game time.
In the past, indoctrinating young players, exposing them to the 24-hour demands and pressures of being an All Black and giving them an insight into the world of test football, has proven invaluable.
"Through no fault of anyone, there is a lack of preparation time," says Hansen. "There are a number of senior All Blacks who are still available and in the eyes of some, they are not playing well. The question for us as selectors is whether they are playing well enough to be selected.
"The thing about players with test history is that they have something else other than Super Rugby form to be judged on. At some point in the next six to twelve months, we are going to introduce new players. What we have discovered is that it's best for the team and for results if you don't chuck them all in at once."
The loss to France in 2009 should serve as a painful reminder of what can happen if the All Blacks are forced to play without a depth of experienced campaigners. Missing the likes of Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Conrad Smith, Ali Williams and Jerome Kaino, the All Blacks lost their first June test in six years.
The overall plan for 2012 has flow and logic to it: a relatively predictable side is expected to be named to play the first test against Ireland. It will rely heavily on familiar names who were prevalent at the World Cup.
Depending on performances and injuries, it's expected that some uncapped players will be introduced later in the series and during the Rugby Championship - fitting in around the experienced core.
The end of year tour, with tests against Scotland, Italy, Wales and England will provide more opportunity again for the selectors to be bolder and inject up and coming talent.
There are two key objectives to the year: the first is to win tests and enhance the legacy. Hansen has been conscious since his appointment that his All Black side can't bask in the glow of World Cup victory no matter how warm and comforting. He wants the All Blacks to go up to another level again.
The second goal is to prepare the side for an inevitable evolution of personnel. The All Blacks are an aging side. Hansen won't be able to rely on all of the current core through to 2015.
There are some men such as Keven Mealamu and Andrew Hore who almost certainly won't still be around by then. Others such as Ali Williams, Piri Weepu, Andy Ellis, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith and Cory Jane are in their late 20s or early 30s.
"History tells us that some of these guys will fall away in the next two years," says Hansen.
"It would be nice to think they could all be like Brad Thorn and play until they're 37 and while some of them might, we know that won't be the case for all of them."
Hansen and his coaching team want to be prepared. They need to ensure they have identified, nurtured and developed players capable of seamlessly moving into the team when the old stager hits the wall.
The case of Israel Dagg and Mils Muliaina being a prime example of what the selectors are striv-ing for.
They want to create contestable scenarios for key positions and let nature take its course as it did last year when Muliaina didn't need to be told to make way; there was nothing contrived or forced about the way the old campaigner exited the stage - the talent of Dagg was an irresistible force that everyone could see had to play.
Whatever the first All Black team of the year looks like, it's likely to have changed by the time they play England in December and be different again by the first test of 2013.By Gregor Paul Email Gregor